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Friday, November 11, 2005

Perfume Review: Lancome Hypnose

This review was made possible
by wonderfully generous J.
Thank you!

After almost a decade of launching rather forgettable fragrances (Attraction, anyone?), Lancôme decided it was time to finally match the previous success of Magie and Trésor. The responsibility of being such a Renaissance perfume fell on Hypnôse, their latest fragrant offering, which also happened to be the 50th fragrance from the House of Lancôme. The twisted bottle is a slender version of the original Magie bottle dating to 1950. The scent, created by Annick Ménardo and Thierry Wasser of Firmenich, is centered around the vanilla and vetiver notes of Magie, and also includes passion flower and white florals (Top note: passion flower; Middle note: Sambac jasmine, solar notes (?); Base note: vetiver, vanilla, as per osmoz). It is not entirely clear to me why Lancôme considered it necessary to launch a perfume “inspired” by Magie, when that same year the company re-introduced Magie itself, as a part of La Collection. I assume the scent is supposed to convey the image of continuity as well as modernity of Lancôme perfumery.

The scent is classified as woody oriental, and on his site, Fragrances of the World, Michael Edwards suggests that if you like Hypnôse, you might also like such woody orientals as Kingdom, Tam Dao and Samsara, and vice versa. As far as I am concerned, Hypnôse is practically nothing like those three woody orientals extraordinaire. Hypnôse is much less woody and oriental than it is floral and fruity. I have not had a chance to smell passion flower* in real life, so I am taking it for granted that the pleasant, soft, fruity, somewhat peach-like, accord in the beginning of Hypnôse is in fact passion flower. In a little while a jasmine note enters the scene, again it is soft, subdued, sweet yet somehow also fresh; to my nose, it smells a little like jasmine tea. The scent gets drier and greener when vetiver joins the composition; when (subtle) vanilla appears, the dryness turns into slight powderiness and the green-ness gets replaced with sweetness.

I have used the word “pleasant” several times and I will use it yet again. It is a very pleasant scent, inoffensive, soft, and pretty; having said that, it is also quite unremarkable. It reminded me of two frangipane-based scents; in its first, fruity, stage, Hypnôse is quite similar of Ormonde Jayne’s Frangipane Absolute, the rest of the time it smells to me very much alike Chantecaille’s Frangipane, only less heady, less bright, less sumptuous, less memorable. The drydown also reminds me of some other scent, perhaps a much lighter version of Flower by Kenzo, I am not quite sure. Though eminently wearable, Hypnôse does not live up to the originality of Magie and/or Trésor, and somehow it does not seem to me to be the perfume worthy of being such a milestone as the 50th Lancôme fragrance.

I was able to locate Hypnôse at Strawberry.net, where it retails for $59.50 for 1,7oz.

* Passion flower was discovered in South America in the 16th century by Christian missionaries who considered the plant to be a good omen for their mission. They called it the passion flower because to them it symbolized the crucifixion: five petals and five sepals are the ten disciples, minus Judas & Peter; the outer fringe is the crown of thorns; five stamens are the number of wounds Christ received and the knob-like stigmas of the pistil are the nails. In Japan passion flower is known as 'The Clock Plant' and that comparison seems much more matter-of-fact.

Among other fragrances with passion flower note are Yves Saint Laurent In Love Again Fleur de la Passion, Calvin Klein Eternity Love and Eternity Moment, Hugo Boss Boss for Woman, Escada Ibiza Hippie, Estee Lauder Dazzling Silver, Giorgio Beverly Hills Wings, Bob Mackie Masquerade, and Crabtree & Evelyn Passion Flower.

(The picture of passion flower is from bermuda-online.org)

14 Comments:

Blogger Sassy Lady said...

i simply lurve perfumes and therefore your blod is very suitable to my needs..u hv a nice n interesting blog..greetings fm singapore

12:30 AM EST  
Blogger Anna, Fair and True said...

I think there was a sample of this in the latest Swedish Elle (there's no other new Lancôme perfume, is there?. A bit too strong for me at first, but maybe it would be okay on me.

6:58 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Dear QL, thank you for you kind words!!

8:07 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

A., I think this is the new Lancôme fragrance, apart from the La Collection (Magie, Climat and Sikkim). It wasn't strong on me, but these things are different for everyone. I would say that, even if it started strong on your skin, it will settle down as a pleasant, light-ish scent.

8:10 AM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

M, I saw this recently and didn't even try it on because the 4 Lancome Collection scents were there, and wanted to give those a smell. Doesn't sound like something I have to race out to try.

10:48 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

R, did you see it in an actual brick and mortar store somewhere? I googled and googled and even the US Lancome site doesn't have the description, etc. yet.

Though as you say, this is not something to race to try. Very pleasant, but not, you know , hypnotic :-)

10:54 AM EST  
Blogger boisdejasmin said...

I thought that it was much more interesting than either what the reviews said or my original expectations. I also liked the ad with Daria W.--such gorgeous eyes!

11:40 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

I am glad you liked it V. I guess I hyped up myself and expected something extraordinary, don't know why.

As for Daria W., when I saw that ad, I actually thought she looked a little like you (I only saw a picture of you of course), it's the eyes :-)

11:46 AM EST  
Blogger katiedid said...

I forgot this was even released, and keep forgeting to go get a sniff. I don't hold out too much hope (Lancome has bored me silly for a while now) but the base notes sound promising enough to me.

I do deeply long to know what on earth "solar notes" are. Are they warmer than "lunar notes?" Eh.

4:56 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

K, is it in the States yet? I could not find it online anywhere.

As for Solar Notes...I love reading about new realeases on R's blog and I know I always grumble about the fancy names of the notes (Wimbledon Grass, Mediterranean Air...), so I decided not to comment on Solar Notes of Hypnose...but it cost me a lot of self-restraint :-) Solar notes indeed *rolls eyes*

8:36 AM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

M, now I'm wondering if I was mistaken, but *thought* it was at Bergdorf Goodman when I saw the Lancome Collection set.

9:24 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

R, it is entirely possible that they have it, just probably not online. Same as Barneys doesn't have all their stuff on their website.

9:36 AM EST  
Blogger ParisLondres said...

Hi M! I tried this a few times but I am not rushing to get a bottle. It is nice but not special enough. :)

1:05 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

That is exactly what I thought, N- "very nice, but not special."

Hope you are having a great day!

1:16 PM EST  

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